CSAS changes curriculum to give students flexibility

The Columbian School of Arts and Sciences established a new set of curriculum requirements for the fall 2000 semester, a move that will provide students increased flexibility in class choices, CSAS administrators said.

Students will be able to choose from higher-level courses, instead of all introductory courses, to fulfill basic requirements. They will not be required to take certain courses in a sequence. The requirement in the Creative and Performing Arts category will also change, eliminating the option of art appreciation classes and requiring students to engage themselves in a craft.

The new set of requirements emphasizes exposure to a wide variety of disciplines by providing students with an increased list of courses that satisfy basic CSAS requirements, said Kim Moreland, CSAS associate dean for Undergraduate Studies.

In addition, students who opt for foreign language classes to fulfill their foreign languages and cultures requirement will not need to demonstrate a proficiency in a certain language but instead must take two courses in the language. Students will not be able to waive the foreign language and culture requirement through an exam.

Moreland said this is the first time the core curriculum has been changed in more than 10 years, reflecting an increasingly intellectual student body.

We trust our students to be able to choose wisely from that wonderful buffet out there, she said.

Lester Lefton, dean of CSAS, said the new curriculum is an evolution of the last curriculum, with the new requirements being more user-friendly and better suited to GW’s student population.

The need for a precise curriculum is not deemed as important as it was 15 years ago, he said. The new curriculum works within an overall framework that ensures both breadth and depth.

All incoming freshmen in the fall will be required to abide by the new requirements. Current students will have the option of deciding whether they want to be held to the new curriculum requirements, officials said. Students who wish to abide by the new curriculum must sign an application form stating their intention.

Many professors said they believe the changes will be beneficial to students.

It’s arrogant on the part of professors to tell students what courses they should take, anthropology Professor Daniel Lieberman said. Less students are going to be forced to take dumb, introductory-level courses that insult their intelligence.

Leslie Jacobson, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department, said she was particularly happy to know students will be required to practice a creative art, rather than simply read about it.

It’s like a laboratory science, Jacobson said. Reading about it isn’t the same as doing it.

Students who want more information about the new requirements can sign up for an advising appointment or pick up a form in Phillips Hall 107.

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